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Celebrating 20 Whacky Festivals

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There is nothing to match the value of the celebrations and traditions of a nation. It is a time of national solidarity when the general community and families come together and forget the day to day grind and celebrates a holiday, for a particular purpose. It is a way of expressing the very heart of the nation and a time for the people to express themselves.

Besides the national festivals and celebrations, many places enjoy some whacky celebrations. Here are just 20 whacky festivals:

·    Alice Springs in the dry and desert-like heart of Australia, is host to the whacky Todd Regatta in a riverbed that has no water. The have no paddles and are bottomless. They are usually constructed of beer cans, which are first emptied by the boat builders. The teams then run the riverbed with their feet sticking out the bottom of the boats. In 1993 the race was cancelled due to the threat of a once in a blue moon rain storm.
·    In the month of August thousands of Spaniards take part in the La Tomatina festival in Bunol. Truckloads of tomatoes are dumped in the city centre. The people throw tomatoes at each other for the whole day, but only after the tomato has been squished in the hand first, before being thrown. Even sedate grandmothers have been seen to participate in the festival.
·    If you want it hot, head to Finland for the Sauna Bathing Championships. Every 30 seconds the heat is turned up. The last person left in the sauna is the winner, after having kept the naked bum firmly seated on the wooden bench and remained seated upright.
·    In Coopers’s Hill in Gloucester England contestants roll, chase, tumble, and somersault after a wheel of cheese down a ridiculously steep hill. The result is sprains, bruises and broken bones. No one ever manages to catch the cheese and whoever gets down the hill first gets to keep the giant wheel of cheese. Not everyone’s cup of tea!
·    In the UK there is a mobile phone throwing championship,
·    While in Wisconsin State, USA in September there is a champion dry cow pad (manure) throwing contest.
·    The cheese-chasing feat is less daunting than the horses and riders racing down a 69 meter slope with a 62 degree angle, known as Suicide Hill in Washington.
·    There is a Boryeong Mud Festival on the East Coast of Korea, for the fully clothed
·    While France there is a yearly International Contemporary Mime Festival.
·    In Kawasaki there is a festival where the men carry 12 foot phallus and the women two foot versions. Not quite sure what they are celebrating here.
·    You can run with the bulls in Pamplona,
·    Or choose to race bulls in Madura. Either one is a bone crunching festival.
·    In Vanuatu there is the yearly religious ceremony known as the land dive on the tropical island of Pentecost to celebrate the end of the yam harvest. The virile young men of the village dive 30 meters off a rickety looking tower on home-made vines. The aim is to let the shoulders (or heads) brush the ground. All this in order to ensure that next year’s yam harvest will be a good one. The English Queen Elizabeth was witness to the death of one of the jumpers in 1976.
·    In Greater Manchester UK they throw black puddings.
·    We all know about the legendary Scots ability to throw large items.
·    In the Rocky Mountains there is an annual ball where daughters pledge their purity to their fathers. Some do not even permit a kiss before their wedding day and many never dance with anyone other than their father or brothers. Tough luck on the single males of the area.
·    Japan hosts the Naked Festival. All the male contestants are dressed in oversize diapers and parade through the winter streets. The onlookers throw cold water over the contestants who drink copious amounts of sake in an effort to stop from freezing.

Many people take their national holidays very seriously and celebrate them wherever they emigrate. Some of these celebrations have become so popular in the host country, they have been adopted outside the immigrant community. This can make it difficult to assess the origin of a celebration.

·    Easter and Christmas which originated in the Middle East have become worldwide celebrations handed down through the churches and adopted by commerce.
·    The Munich Beer Festival is also one such celebration. Numerous countries now lay claim to their own beer festival
·    Halloween was Irish in its origin. Now many countries around the world celebrate Halloween, particularly the United States of America
Other celebrations remain more localized to a particular community inside the host country.

·    Thanksgiving is an American harvest festival. Americans all over the world, stop to celebrate this festival.
·    While Chinese New Year is limited to the Chinese population in a country, there are many countries around the globe where it is celebrated.
·    Melbourne Cup Race Day is celebrated by Australians, no matter what country they live in.

While some say festivals express something about the people who celebrate them, I wonder! It is important however, as a universal community we respect without censure, how and what others choose to celebrate. Each festival meets a particular need in the individuals of that nation and becomes an integral part of a way of life. Maybe you can come up with some whacky celebration of your own.

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